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Some ride by Hugh Bowman there. Barrier beat Waikuku – @armodan
In the aftermath of the BMW Hong Kong Derby, there was plenty of talk surrounding some of the rides – both good and bad.
It’s always easy in hindsight so it’s better to assess the process, rather than the outcome, when it comes to dissecting performances. Of course luck is involved, but that’s the game.
Bowman won the race for Furore in the first 200m. He took a chance, followed stablemate Mission Tycoon forward and when the gap appeared, he slotted straight in.
If he was offered one-out, three-back at the start of the day, he’d have taken it in a heartbeat. It was a split-second decision and one that ultimately was the difference between winning and losing.
It’s the position Zac Purton wanted to be in on Dark Dream, but he didn’t show the same gate speed and couldn’t find a gap to slide into so he was trapped three-wide. That’s the way the cookie crumbles.
What a ride by Hugh Bowman. Won the race no doubt. Swap his and Zac's ride and you have a different winner. Poor Zac was the unlucky one to be caught out.— Brendon Bowe (@brendon_bowe) March 17, 2019
If you want to be hypercritical, maybe Purton should have pushed forward earlier in the back straight when the leaders were crawling.
But he has won a Derby after being trapped three-wide before (with Luger in 2015) and afterwards was more concerned with the horse’s attitude rather than the run itself.
Which leaves us with Joao Moreira, who wore the brunt of the criticism after finishing second on odds-on favourite Waikuku.
Brilliant ride from @HugeBowman on Furore, right place all the way round and wins nicely. Waikuku has ran an amazing race from his position off no pace, he WILL turn out to be a Hong Kong Racing superstar @HKJC_Racing #HongKongDerby— Ashley Crowe (@ACrowe91) March 17, 2019
Huge run by Waikuku there. Definitely wasn’t one of the magic man’s best efforts #HKDerby— Tim Kennedy (@PuntKing23) March 17, 2019
Given the wide draw, and the way he won his lead-up race, the only choice was to drop out to the tail of the field.
The Brazilian’s biggest mistake was letting Waikuku get so detached down the back straight, when the leaders were still crawling with the gentle pace.
As they upped the ante, the four-year-old was left flat-footed and it took a little while for him to pick up (which is what Moreira told the stewards).
The slow tempo through the middle section meant Waikuku had too much to do and, given the slightly interrupted preparation, it was a great effort to finish second, rattling off a 22.33-second final 400m (clearly the fastest of the race).
Moreira was probably hoping that Enrichment would cart him into the race, but instead got no help whatsoever. It was not a slaughter (but it also wasn’t his best) and ultimately Waikuku’s defeat had more to with the circumstances of the race than his jockey.
But while defending Moreira’s Derby ride, it is fair to say he’s hit a rough patch of form – perhaps best exemplified by his efforts on Invincible Missile and Tornado Twist.
John Moore's Encouraging comes into the Sha Tin nightcap as a standby starter and records his fourth win of the season under Derek Leung, making every yard to come home clear of strong favourite Tornado Twist. #HKracing pic.twitter.com/PDcQiqb1Gi— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) March 17, 2019
They were both bad – he made poor decisions early and paid the price later – with some good judges suggesting he is overthinking things after three quick suspensions from the stewards last month.
The numbers from his past four meetings don’t make for pretty reading – he’s had three winners from 34 rides, with 21 of them starting $5 or shorter (including 13 favourites). That’s ugly.
He is too good a jockey for that to continue in the long run.
Full Of Beauty goes all right – @Avi_Lal
He sure does – not many horses win five races in a row in Hong Kong.
The only other horse to achieve that feat this season is superstar Beauty Generation, who has won all six of his runs this campaign and is also owned by the Kwok family (life is tough for them).
The four-year-old was excellent on Sunday, justifying his short quote to take out the Class Two Ambitious Dragon Handicap (1,200m) with ease.
Full of Beauty makes it five out of five with another smooth success for John Size and Joao Moreira in R7 at Sha Tin and records the fastest winning time of the four 1200m races on the card. The BMW Hong Kong Derby is up next. #HKracing pic.twitter.com/l3scI41vTG— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) March 17, 2019
“He just keeps finding that little bit to come up to the class,” trainer John Size said. “He’s still in a Class Two, so he’ll probably be running again in three weeks as long as he’s OK at home. If he’s shown me no sign of any stress, then I’ll run him again.
“The more wins he puts together like that shows that he has a future. It’s hard to build a picket fence in Hong Kong.”
The last horse to win five straight from debut was another from the Size production line in Hot King Prawn.
At that stage, Hot King Prawn was only racing over 1,000m – but he was just a three-year-old.
In any case, what Full Of Beauty has achieved so far is exceptional and it looks like he can keep chugging along in this fashion for a little while yet.